Sunday, August 31, 2008

Maybe Wonder Dog Ate Them, Too

Missing in action, Robin's supporting cast from his days at Hudson University:

What, Nightwing can't drop by for a visit??Wow, not even a whisper from any of these guys in nearly 30 years. Good to see Dick Grayson has such fond memories of his days in New Carthage.

Of course, these weren't the brightest bunch of folk in the DC Universe. Dick Grayson leaves Gotham and starts attending Hudson at precisely the same time Robin stops being seen in Gotham and starts being seen in New Carthage...and no one has an inkling, including the head of security and the police detective. Sheesh.

Maybe Zatanna mind-wiped them...or maybe Wonder Dog just got hungry.

Related but unrelated question: why does the DC Universe have so many more fictional cities than Marvel? Discuss amongst yourselves.

Robin's college cast of characters pin-up is from Batman Family #6 (1976)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Well, There You Go, That Makes It All Right, Then

From an interview at Newsarama with Sean McKeever re: Teen Titans #62:
Yeah, poor Wendy and Marvin. But, you know, I hope it got to people because it's absolutely a story-based death and not one of these "shock death" things. The Teen Titans are on a journey, and this is a major part of it.
Other forthcoming "story-based" plots from McKeever:
  • Ace the Bathound sodomizes the Spoiler...hey, it's a major part of Robin's journey, so lay off
  • Snoopy devours Peppermint Patty and Lucy...hey, it's NOT one of those "shock death" things.
  • The Legion of Super-Pets takes a conversion van on a cross-galaxy killing spree, leaving a trail of dead hookers in their wake
  • "Marmaduke--OH MY GOD NO MARAMADU--ahegahahgsgs..."
Story-based. Yeah, you're a real Bill Shakespeare there, McKeever.

You see now why I don't read Teen Titans?

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Night Fights--Rising and Advancing Style!!

Shang-Chi, Master of Kung Fu, son of Fu Manchu, MI-6 operative, best pals with a dude who is the son of James Bond and the grand-nephew of Sherlock Holmes, trotting around the globe stopping eccentric billionaires from blowing things up...what's not to love? And he's equal or woman, he'll f you up.

Take, for example, whip-wielding, panther-commanding, thong-wearing Pavane:

Comics Code approved, folksNow, Shang-Chi at first takes her too lightly:

All jokes about Shang being 'whipped' are deleted for reader convenienceTo his credit, he realizes his error, but doesn't have a lot of time. So he decides to go all brier patch on her:

Never turn your back on a woman in a thongAnd it works:

The whipper has become the whipeeOUCH...the result:

The ground must be kinda cold when you're dressed like that...Another dizzyingly odd foe goes down for the count. Well, played, Shang...well played.

Most people, of course, don't realize that Bahlactus means "the rising and advancing of my foot up your backside, fool."

Moench, Gulacy, and Adkins brings us this quickie in Master of Kung Fu #31 (1975).

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tangled Web?

Well, well, well.

After months (and months) of studiously avoiding the issue of exactly what the frell happened at the end of "One More Day," some info has finally started to trickle out.

First, in the freebie Marvel: Your Universe Saga (available free this week at Marvel Digital Comics, if your missed it at your local shop), which recaps the last few years of Marvel continuity, we get this gem:
Using his vast powers, Mephisto saved Aunt May's life--at the cost of Peter and Mary Jane's marriage, which the demon erased from history. Unaware of what he has lost, Spider-Man continues his adventures.
Now, one would hope Marvel wouldn't print that without it being kind of official. So it wasn't some amnesia spell--Mephisto actually rewrote history, and Peter Parker is unaware of it.

Which is interestingwhen we consider the other precept they laid down back in the first issue of Brand New Day: ""Absolutely no one knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man. Not Daredevil, not the Avengers, not anyone." At the time, I wondered exactly how that would play out with characters who HAD to know Spidey's identity, such as Venom or Norman Osborn (unless gazillions of stories were wipe out of continuity). This made the situation sound more like a mind-wipe than an actual historical change. But now Marvel says nope, it's a historical change.

Which brings us to Amazing Spider-Man #569, where Norman Osborn is confronting Peter Parker (click to make it larger if you can't read it):

Peter forgot that others forgot..."Everything WE did?"

Second thing to note: Venom can sense old host Eddie Brock from blocks away, but can't sense that Parker was a former host when they're in the same room. And he remembers that he was bonded with Spider-Man, but not Parker.

Third thing, when Spider-Man confronts Osborn:

Just for the record, that is one fucking great panel."This time, you have no idea who I am."

So, assuming everyone's been playing fair with us, (including the editorial staff in their "official" pronouncements):

Peter doesn't know about the deal with Mephisto, which actually altered the timeline (so this speculation would be wrong).
Osborn used to know who Spider-Man was, but doesn't anymore (so past stories DID happen, Peter remembers, others don't, at least not the revealing parts).
Everything "we" did is still "up and running." (so the reason for the lack of memories is due to some specific steps Peter and ? took)

So Mephisto changed history, but within that new history, Peter and someone did something to erase memories of Spider-Man's secret ID.

Who? Could be Professor X...he's got the mojo to wipe out that many memories. But a Spider-Man connection? And could he effect an alien symbiote like Venom?

Could be Doctor Strange. He's got the mojo, at least from time to time. And he was hangin' with Webhead, during the "New Avengers on the run" days.

But what about the Sentry? He's pulled this "everybody forget about me" shtick twice now, with his awesomely undefined powers and his ultra-super-computer CLOC (and with help from Dr. Strange the second time). He and Spidey were New Avengers together, and Avengers HQ was the Sentry's Watchtower.

So what if, after Peter reveals his identity publicly (but before he splits the official Avengers), he has second thoughts, and gets Sentry to help him undo that with his awesome memory-eras-o-vision thingie? Or, after he splits, he sneaks back in, and gets the Sentry to help him anyway (or someone else..."we"...Doc Strange, perhaps?).

Just noodling. But that's my guess: Sentry.

Now the real question. Was that part of the deal with Mephisto...perhaps what Mary Jane whispered to him? Or was it just a natural occurrence of the new timeline--without MJ's support he wasn't as confident of his decision to reveal his identity, so he recanted and rigged up a giant Zatanna for everyone?

Obviously, I think about these things too much...

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Excedrin Moment #27

Dear DC and Grant Morrison,

Plus, they look pretty lame while wearing themThanks so much for the pounding headache. Especially since the "4-D" effects a) were pretty darn unimpressive, b) added absolutely nothing to the story, and c) even if you argue they were impressive and did add to the story, they sure as heck didn't add $1.51 worth.

So please don't do that again.

Save the glasses, save the headache.



P.S. Again with the Ultra-Man?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Decisions, Decisions

Grrr, I'm so modern and angstyYou know, in some very important ways, I really can't seem to make up my mind about Legion of 3 Worlds #1. Maybe you, my loyal readers, can help me out here.

Decision #1: Should I be happy that Geoff Johns has managed to go a whole issue without using any fake futuristic swear words?

Or should I be amused and depressed that he replaced it with fake 21st century swear babble?

Garth speaks like Sarge from Beetle Bailey??Yeah, that's how you prove your street cred--replace "grife" with "$#&@&%??" Pretend we're talking tougher, but don't have the balls to really do it?

By the way, what's the over/under on how long until we get our first #$%^ from Barry Allen?

Decision #2: Should I be elated that the red hot team of Johns and George Perez is (hopefully) turning on lots of new fans to the Legion of Super-Heroes?

Or should I be concerned that Johns' hamfisted, one-note characterizations will make all those new readers go, "what's the big deal?" Example, Saturn Girl.

Which explains why Takron-Galtos is so fullOK, that's nice to know about her...

It's not repetition, it's emphasisWell, that was nice again, but you already told us that a few pages ago...

Because we were too stupid to get the same idea, phrased exactly the same way, the first two timesOK, now we're just getting silly. Repetitive much? What's the over/under on the number of times we get that little meme repeated again and again the rest of the series? (And don't get me started on the number of panels dedicated to proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that Garth is a hothead...we get it already, Geoff...)

Decision #3: Is it cool that all the villains of the 31st century have secretly worshipped Superboy-Prime for all these years?

'Never spoken' because you just made it up...
He;s your guide? So you kept whining about how unfair life was while others manipulated you?Or should I be going "Hey, wait a minute--Superboy-Prime was never anything more than a lackey for other villains. He was the brainless muscle, the water carrier for Alex Luthor and Sinestro. The Legion of Super-Villains might as well be worshipping Chemo!"

You see the kind of decisions I have?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Manic Monday--Captain Triumph

Caleb recently wrote about some Golden Age heroes who need to be revived, and I've covered that idea a few times, myself. Well, what about Captain Triumph?!?

Greatest. Concept. Ever.I mean, c'mon--look at that!! What a concept!! Magic birthmarks? Ghost twins?!? Invincible super powers?!? How can it go wrong??

Absorbed when DC acquired Quality Comics, Captain Triumph has had a handful of appearances in modern DC (including a Grant Morrison Animal Man), but now's the time to bring him back full time!

Bonus #1: A Golden Age reference to threesomes:

What does that caption even mean?!?!Bonus #2: Logic at its finest:

uhhh...the gold store??With a crack support staff like this, it's a mystery why Captain Triumph never made the leap to the Silver Age...

Panels from Crack Comics (seriously) #42 (1946), as reprinted in 100-Page Super Spectacular #18 (1973)

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Why DC Was So Successful In The 1940s

Two words:

Enough fun, Jimmy...I need 20 pages by 6 or it's the sack for youChild labor.

"Comic studio" sweatshop on the ocver of Superman #25 (1943).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Guess What This Is?

Uhhh....both??That's right...

Is 'old enemies' really the slogan you want to use to sell comics??It's my...

not the ugliest cover I will show you today...400th post...

That's a whole lotta Man-Bat...I've been doing this...

SPOILER ALERT: this is the one where Peter DOESN'T make a deal with Satan to save Aunt May's life...mostly daily...

Still not the worst cover in this post...for 400 freakin' posts...

Good issue, ugly cover...and I haven't burned out (yet).

No Frank Miller? Ah, this was one month before The Dark Knight Returns...So thanks for hangin'...

Ah, the '90s...and I'll try to keep being vaguely entertaining for 400 more. Oh, and one more thing:

So very terrifyingThe Gombezi f@#$%ing rock!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Night Fights--Price Check!!

I'm illin', so with a minimum of chatter, let's check out one of Barbara Gordon's first adventures as Batgirl:

Facekicks: the perfect way to start a crime-fighting career
Hey--they've got guns--no fair!!
Paper or plastic?
You break, you buy
Cookies and toilet paper in the same aisle? What's up with this store??Clean-up in aisle 3, Bahlactus!!

Batgirl's bodega beatdown courtesy of Batgirl: Year One #3 (2003)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Great Moments in DC Science--Dr. Togg!!

It's been awhile since we've examined evil scientists. I mean, after seeing Fu Manchu raise an ape's intelligence to near human levels, so he could drive it insane, just because he thought it was a cool idea, what's the point? We've plumbed the depths of super-evil science, haven't we?

Well, no. Because in the mists of the Golden Age, something new was invented, something so insane and unrelated to anything in the physical world as to have no doubt inspired Clarke's Law. I'm talking, of course, about DC Science.

While Silver Age DC Science had some pretty wonky moments, at some base level they were trying to be sort of scientific...they just weren't very good at it, and they weren't about to let that get in the way of a good story.

But the Golden Age? Man, the dudes working in the industry in those days treated science like magic...anything and everything they could think of doing, no matter how impossible or ridiculous, could be justified by plopping a "science" label on it. And since they were writing for kids, what the hell, right?

Which brings us to Doctor Togg:

Was this even a cliche yet in 1940??
The Doctor is pissed at EVERYBODY!!Come on, Doc, focus. They? The world? All its goods? The police? You're all over the place here.

So, anyway, what's Togg's deal?

And yet, you refuse to show science. Passive aggressive much, Dr. Togg?

And yet he can't cure baldnessWolves and buzzards? Dr. Togg, you've got my attention!! That's a nice start. But what else do you got?

Perfect doesn't begin to describe thisSweet mother of Minerva!! What shall you call these creations?

The number of level upon which I find this disturbing is growing by the secondGombezi? GOMBEZI? You have an upright dog with wing and claws that can talk, and you call it gombezi?? OK, what else special can they do?

A mold? What, they're made of Play-Doh? Jello?Ah, super-slipperiness...perhaps they could try out for the Legion of Substitute Super-Pets. And you can create more at a moments notice. Good, good...but really, how tough can these gombezi be?

Choking the engineer--the finest in 1940's masturbation euphamisms
Wouldn't it have been easier to get a Post Office Box?

Holy shit!!

Gombezi must be Republicans...Wait...let's take a closer look at that last panel:

Somehow, they drew my's kind of hard to tell without squinting, but the gombezi pack heat!! They are now officially the coolest things ever!! However, the media is outraged:

Aero-Midgets?!?!?!?!?!Which means it's time for Hour-Man to finally get on the job. Or, rather, THE Hour-Man, as he's constantly referred to in this story. Take that, Bruce Wayne! But is he too late to stop the gombezi raid?

The Wizard of Oz wishes that the flying monkeys were this terrifyingLike any hero, the Hour-Man calls upon a gang of adolescents to do his dirty work for him.

Newspapers seem to have no idea of what actual butterflies look like...Wait for it...

Child labor, 1940's hero styleYup, these guys pack guns and bombs, and you're going to catch them in butterfly nets (which are apparently in copious supply, and large enough to catch dog-sized creatures).

Anyhoo, the Hour-Man tracks a gombezi back to Dr. Togg's lab, but don't think the good doctor isn't ready for him. How can the Hour-man ever take on wolf-buzzards??

Caption covers for artists too lazy to actually draw an action...
'Boom' is the best you've got??
Seriously, dude, you should patent that shitDon't worry, science fans...of course Dr. Trogg escaped to menace the Hour-Man again a couple of years later, and he was resurrected for the recent Hourman series, and he even brought some gombezi with him. But it just wasn't the same. Our suspension of disbelief worked on a whole different level in 1999, and the flying dogs with claws were now merely silly, instead of sublimely brilliant. Although you DO have to love a story titled "Bride of the Gombezi."

Still, wolf-buzzards and super-slippery gombezi who talk and pack heat? Dr. Trogg, you win this round! Take that, Dr. Doom!!

Back to the drawing board, Doom!One final note: please note, from this web site covering The Hour-man's career:
Principal Adversaries
Doctor Glisten (Adventure Comics #72): unknown
Doctor Iker (Adventure Comics #64) - reformed, employed by Tyler Chemical
Doctor Togg (Adventure Comics #57): - reformed but extremely aged
Doctor Kobalt (Triumph #1) - died of cancer in prison
Doctor Darkk (Adventure Comics #65): unknown
Doctor Slight (Adventure Comics #56): unknown
That's the complete list, kids. So, Rex Tyler--problems with your HMO, or what?? Or did you just settle in a town with an excessive number of evil PhDs?

Gombezi massacre comes from Adventure Comics # 57 (1940), as reprinted in 100-Page Super Spectacular #18 (1973).